Everything You need to know about Door Security

“I don’t need to lock my doors all the time; this neighborhood is very safe.” And I have some land in the Caribbean I’d like to sell you.

1BBurglars know that every “safe neighborhood” has a certain percentage of fools who think they’re immune to break-ins. And thieves would rather intrude upon a home with lots of nice things—and these homes are usually in “nice neighborhoods.” Hello?

Big mistakes:

  • Leaving doors unlocked
  • Keeping doors locked—but the lock system sucks

I hope you don’t fall into either of the above categories.

What you see on TV is true: Locked doors CAN be kicked open. Builders of homes don’t have the future resident’s security in mind. They cut corners whenever possible. You can bet a new home has a crappy door lock. And an old home, for that matter. Any determined thief could get past these doors even when they’re locked.

But there’s hope. Lots of it. First of all, keep your doors locked. Even if the lock isn’t too great. After all, many times a thief will give up after learning the door is locked. Many burglars are very impatient and want a quick, quiet job. But since you can’t read the mind of the next crook who prowls your neighborhood, it’s best that you get optimal door security.

 First-Line Door Security

  • The door frame on the lock and hinge sides should be reinforced.
  • Think “door reinforcement” Metal plates reinforcing the door jam is fundamental to door security See Door Devil.
  • Wood doors should be solid hardwood all around.
  • Getting a peephole.
  • Don’t answer the door. Don’t feel you must answer the door every time someone’s there. It’s not a crime to ignore the visitor. If you’re not expecting anyone, it’s safest to just ignore them. It’s extremely unlikely that they’re about to die from dehydration or hemorrhaging; assume whatever they want is not a matter of life and death.
  • If you have a door that’s not visible to people passing by, this door especially needs optimal security.
  • A steel-clad door should have 24-guage steel and a wood lockblock core.
  • Hardened steel deadbolts are a must and should have a five-pin tumbler. Associated screws should be as long as they come for deadbolts. Deadbolts should have wrap-arounds.
  • Consider a vertical deadbolt or multi-lock deadbolt for maximal security.
  • Another layer of maximal security is the grade of door hardware, whereas grade 1 is the highest; grade 2 is moderate; and grade 3 is so-so.
  • Beware of flimsy screws!

Adjuncts to Door Security

  • Use a door brace (metallic pole that has one end fitting under doorknob and the other end securely on the floor, out at an angle, to prevent the door from opening).
  • A door stop or wedge will probably not stop a brute-force push-in, but a door stop can be equipped with an alarm that will trip if someone tries to push their way in.
  • Don’t bother with the door chains that you so often see on TV. We’ve all seen it: The bad guy is on the other side of the door while the apprehensive woman is speaking to him through that small opening. He then pushes on the door and breaks the chain. This can really happen!

Robert Siciliano is a home and personal security expert to discussing Anti-Kick door reinforcement on YouTube. Disclosures.

How to Burglar Proof your Doors

Burglars love doors; they frequently gain entry by kicking them down and even using less aggression to get into a house—and that includes simply opening the door because it’s not locked.

2HDon’t believe that if a burglar wants to rob you badly enough, he’ll figure out a way to get in. While there is no such thing as 100% secure, in many cases, you CAN prevent a burglary. Since when do burglars enjoy the possibility of being seen messing around with someone’s front door for 20 minutes? Make it hard for them, make your house a tough target and they will move on.

  • Burglar proofing your door begins with making sure you have a decent door to start with, then building up from there. But first, let’s briefly discuss USING the lock that’s there. Often, burglars and home invaders get in by, as already mentioned, simply opening an unlocked door. If the occupant isn’t home, it’s a burglary. If they’re home, it’s a home invasion. If you’re home, even in the middle of the day, have all doors LOCKED. This costs you no time, muscle or brainstorming to pull off.
  • A locked door will stop many burglars, but not all. A hollow door is no good. If your door is hollow, you’ll need to replace it. If the door sounds hollow when you knock on it, it probably is.
  • To make a door kick-down proof, get a door that opens outward, towards someone standing outside of it. And as impossible as it seems to bust through a door like this, that’s not enough, however. A door should not have windows that could be broke and the locks accessed. Forget the décor and think security.
  • Many people don’t like the idea of a door that opens outward, which is all the more reason that more layers of security are needed besides having a solid wood door or a metal fire retardant door with no windows. And that begins with a deadbolt. The deadbolt does not replace the regular lock; it’s an addition. If you already have a deadbolt, look at it. Can you see screws on the outside? If so, replace it with one with screws only on the inside. The throw bolt should be at least one inch.
  • Install a peephole. Opening the door to see who’s there defeats the purpose of whatever deadbolt or reinforcements you have; once the door’s open, you’re game. Don’t think for a second that a determined intruder can’t bust one of those chain thingies that connect the door to the frame. The peephole should allow for a wide-angle view and have a cover so that an outsider can’t reverse the view with a reverse peephole viewer.
  • Do you know what a lock cylinder is? It’s where you stick the key in. Burglars can work these off. A metal guard plate can be installed around the cylinder to prevent removal.
  • Look at the door’s hinges. They should not be on the outside unless the door open out. If they are, they can be secured with non-removable hinge pins. For hinges on the inside, secure them with three-four-inch screws.
  • Examine the strike plate—the metal plate that’s around the door’s lock-set screwed into the door jamb. The strike plate should be heavy duty metal but the “stock” one you have is insufficient. The door jamb itself is made up of weak ½ inch pine and can easily be kicked in. Beef that puppy up with “door reinforcement” such as the Door Devil Door Reinforcement Kit. Not having reinforcement makes you an easy target.
  • What about the door frame? This counts, too. A weak door frame can be pried with a crowbar. The frame should be secured to the wall with several three-inch screws that reach the wall stud.

Robert Siciliano is a home and personal security expert to discussing Anti-Kick door reinforcement on YouTube. Disclosures.

Deadbolt, gotta gotta have It

Deadbolts aren’t hyped up; they really are superior to regular knob locks. Though we keep shaking our head in amazement whenever yet another news story comes out about a burglar or rapist who waltzed through an unlocked door and committed mayhem, it remains a hard fact that many criminals gain entry via physical force.

1BYes, what you see in movies and TV shows is true: People CAN kick open a locked door—that’s either missing a deadbolt, has a faulty one or simply because a door jamb itself is just half inch pine. In that case, door reinforcement technologies are needed. Read on.

Nearly 60 percent of burglaries are forced-entry. Many occur during the day. Face it; at a minimum, you need a deadbolt. It can be either single-cylinder or double-cylinder (check the legality regarding doubles).

The door jamb will have a hole for the bolt to extend fully into—partially isn’t good enough. A metal strike plate should reinforce the hole. If both of these factors are not in place, an intruder can force open the door.

In addition, the strike plate should be fastened into the studs of the door frame with three-inch screws.

Finally…the deadbolt needs to be USED. It’s easier to always ensure this if you have a single-cylinder because it requires just a turn of its knob (from the inside). The double-cylinder requires a key from the inside—in place of that little knob. So every time you come home and lock the deadbolt, you’ll need a key. Every time you want to step outside…you’ll need a key to unlock it. Double deadbolts are a little dangerous too due to fires as well. So not recommended.

However, if you have the single-cylinder, and your door is right beside a window, an intruder could smash through the window and reach in and turn the knob of the single-cylinder, unlocking it.

Door Security

  • If you don’t want the hassle of a double-cylinder, consider replacing the door so that windows aren’t close enough to it for an intruder’s arm to reach through.
  • The decision isn’t whether or not to get a deadbolt; it’s what type of deadbolt and door…because it can’t be said enough: A door with only a regular lock can easily be kicked in—by a slight woman—because the standard lock involves a few little screws, one or two little strike plates and a thin pine wood door frame with thin molding.
  • However, this thin wood can be empowered by the Door Devil Anti Kick Door Jam Security Kit. It’s a four-foot-long bar of steel that’s one-sixteenth-inch thick. It gets installed on the center of the door jamb, over the little strike plates. An intruder must get past this; fat chance, because four feet of the door frame will absorb the intruder’s attempted force.
  • The Door Devil’s thick screws are three and a half inches long, and when placed into the 2 x 4 studs (also part of the kit) behind the frame, reinforce the door hinges.
  • You might be thinking, if an intruder is determined enough, he’ll keep kicking till the door busts. What do you think an intruder is, a kickboxing instructor? If he can’t dismantle the door after two, maybe even one, kick, he’ll move on to the next house.
  • Of course, he might not want to even try to kick down your door if he notices a surveillance camera above it—after the motion detector light beams onto him.

Robert Siciliano is a home and personal security expert to discussing Anti-Kick door reinforcement on YouTube. Disclosures.